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Although the change will initially be voluntary, the existing range of licensing conditions in the city is set to be revised to incorporate specific counter-terrorism measures such as ensuring venues have a plan in place to combat terrorist attacks and provide staff with the related training.

This move comes in response to a campaign by the mother of arena bomb victim Martyn Hett who has been lobbying government for a change in the law which would improve security at all public venues.

Martyn was killed along with 21 others when a bomb, which also left hundreds injured, exploded at the end of an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena in 2017.

Without legislation though, licensed venues cannot be compelled to implement what has become dubbed ‘Martyn’s Law’.

The council has, however, stated that it may impose counter-terrorism conditions on new licences or where a licence is being varied.

It said any revised conditions could be introduced as early as this year following a short public consultation, although inclusion of the anti-terrorism measures in its formal licensing policy might not happen until January 2021.

Does Manchester signal a change in the law?

Deputy council leader Nigel Murphy said: “We are proud to work with Figen [Martyn’s mother] to lead the way on bringing in an improved culture of safety in this country, but we need the Government to take action.”

The Government has since pledged support and reportedly Security Minister Brandon Lewis said Boris Johnson is fully on board with the proposals for bag searches and metal detectors at big venues such as concert and sport arenas.

Writing in the Mail on Sunday, Mr Lewis said:

“The Prime Minister, Home Secretary and I are all 100% behind Figen and are working to improve security measures at public venues and spaces.


“We are working quickly to come up with a solution that will honour Martyn’s memory and all of those affected by terrorism.”

He added:

“I am pleased that last week Man­chester City Council announced new licensing rules, but we are committed to going further and making Martyn’s Law a reality for all public venues across the UK.”

The government backing follows calls by the mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham last year for mandatory security checks at large-scale public venues. He said:

“I believe there is a clear case for a thorough review of security measures at major sporting and entertainment event venues to establish clearly understood mandatory standards and I call on the government to initiate one.

“We need to have clear minimum and mandatory standards at all venues so there is clarity for operators, and confidence for the public.”


For those holding existing venue licences, the current position remains unaltered until the law is changed.

However, if you submit an application to a licensing authority, conditions can then be added to a licence voluntarily or imposed by a licensing committee when a valid representation is received, but this can only happen if you submit a new licence application or an existing licence is varied or reviewed.



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